Intel dishes the details on Willamette

Intel dishes the details on Willamette

Promising the biggest year ever for Intel processors, Intel officials on Tuesday outlined a brief roadmap of the future of the chips and gave a glimpse inside the company's newest processor, code-named Willamette.

Speaking at the Intel Developer Forum here, Albert Yu, senior vice president of Intel's microprocessor division, said the Willamette processor is the next generation of IA-32 processors, and in a demonstration of "first silicon", cranked the chip from 1.4GHz to 1.5GHz at room temperature with a 400MHz bus.

To hit these accelerated processor speeds, Willamette used what Yu termed "hyper pipeline", which allows the processor to grab twice the amount of data.

"This type of dynamic execution will, instead of picking up 64 bytes of data, pick up 128 bytes," said Yu, who used an animated shopping cart demo to illustrate how Willamette doubles the floating point of the processor.

Willamette also incorporates an enhanced streaming capability, or what Yu called "Streaming SIMD Extension II". A demonstration of this enhancement showed improved video resolution through the use of parametric modelling, which basically transforms all images into mathematical equations rather than the combinations of wire frame modelling that composes all current graphics.

Willamette will be shipping in the hundreds of thousands by the end of this year, Intel said.

As for the rest of the road map, future plans for the Intel Celeron processor include a speed bump to 600MHz by the first half of this year, officials said. A new processor, code-named Timna, will also be launched for the value PC market, entering at the $US500 price point, according to Yu.

The second half of this year will see the Pentium III processor accelerate to 900MHz, then onto 1GHz by the end of the year. It will be supported by both the Camino II chipset that will support Rambus memory, and the Solano II chipset with DRAM, Yu said.

The second half of this year will also see the beginnings of what Yu called the "integrated processor". This processor will combine the processor, graphics card, memory and cache all on the same motherboard.

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